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Golden Hour Books

Living on Earth: Forests, Corals, Consciousness, and the Making of the World by Peter Godfrey-Smith (9/3/24)

Living on Earth: Forests, Corals, Consciousness, and the Making of the World by Peter Godfrey-Smith (9/3/24)

Regular price $29.00 USD
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The bestselling author of Other Minds shows how we and our ancestors have reinvented our planet.

If the history of the Earth were compressed down to a year, our species would arise in the last thirty minutes or so of the final hour. But life itself is not such a late arrival: It has existed on Earth for something like 3.7 billion years—most of our planet’s history and over a quarter of the age of the universe (as far as we can tell).

What have these organisms—bacteria, animals, plants and the rest—done in all this time? In Living on Earth, the philosopher Peter Godfrey-Smith tells the long story of living action, and its impact. Where his acclaimed books Other Minds and Metazoa explored the riddle of how conscious minds came to exist on Earth, Living on Earth turns to what happens when we look at the mind from another side—as a cause, as a factor, in the making of the world in which we live.

To that end, Godfrey-Smith takes us on a grand tour of communication, culture, and consciousness. He visits Rwandan gorillas and Australian bowerbirds, returns to coral reefs and octopus dens, and weighs the responsibilities our powers bring with them, as they relate to factory farming, habitat preservation, and climate change. Ranging from the seas to the forests, and from animate matter’s first appearance to its future extinction, Godfrey-Smith offers a novel picture of the course of life on Earth and how we might meet the challenges of our time, the Anthropocene.

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